It was just suppose to be a routine eye exam! I didn't know it at the time but I had arrived for a divine appointment.
The unexpected came in the form of my optometrist. Granted I have been going to this eye doctor for many years but the visits have always remained very professional and conversations have always revolved around... well... eyes. So it took me by surprise this time when Mr. Optometrist started freely sharing experiences and people who have recently been impacting his life.
A forty-minute eye exam become a little over two hours long. And during that time I quickly learned that Mr. Optometrist was intrigued by the mysticism of the oriental medicines and that he is now studying Daoism. In fact, his studies are so serious that he plans to travel to China and become a priest of Daoism later this year.
But even though he is so set upon going and accomplishing this he shared some fears and concerns. When he started dabbling with the higher level teachings of Daoism he had some troubling experiences. And I felt goosebumps on my arms when he told me what happened. Not because I was afraid for myself, even though we were alone in the room, but because I feared for him. Mr. Optometrist does not realize what he has gotten himself into.
We talked and talked and I found it interesting how he kept trying to say his interest in Daoism had nothing to do with the spirituality of its religion but only its science. So I did more listening than talking. But I had gotten the sense that no one had taken the time to listen to him. And when he was sharing his frightening experiences I felt, for a poignant moment, as if I was listening to a frightened child trying to explain a nightmare he had. I sensed that my willingness to just listen was a comfort to him. I felt this very strongly.
But I wasn't just listening. I was also praying. I was pleading with God to help him. I wasn't ready for an in-your-face encounter with someone neck deep in the occult. So I knew to be cautious. But I also knew this, "... for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4
And my heart was touched when he shared how he has always felt deep inside that he was missing something. He truly believes there is more to life than what we can physically see and touch. Mr. Optometrist is searching for, in his own words, " a peace that can't be taken away." I almost cried.
I needed to return the following Saturday for a follow-up on my prescription contacts and during the whole week I knew that this time I had to speak about my faith in God. And honestly... I was nervous. I had unknowingly stepped into enemy territory during the previous visit. I was in spiritual warfare, whether I wanted it or not. And I knew that I could not stand alone.
So I asked others to pray for spiritual protection and courage. In my devotions I brought Mr. Optometrist to God in prayer and told him all my concerns. I studied as much as I could about spiritual warfare and putting on the armor of God. And I wrestled all week with discouragement and uncertainty.
And then, God led me to these verses:
" Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. The seventy returned with joy, saying, ' Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!' He said to them, ' I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy and nothing will hurt you." Luke 10: 16-19
So I was encouraged and took to heart the instructions of God's armor found in Ephesians 6: 14-18. I realized that although I was about to step again into enemy territory it was defeated enemy territory. Christ already won the victory on the cross! All God expected of me was to share what he has done in my life. And it didn't matter that I was in an eye exam. If God gave me the opportunity I promised to trust Him and open my mouth.
" Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 3: 5-6
So I did. And Mr. Optometrist listened. I was even able to give him information about an apologist who has greatly influenced my life. It was more than I had hoped for. God was gracious to me and so I left with joy. I will continue to pray for Mr. Optometrist and hope that a seed or two were sown. Now I must trust that God will use our conversations for his glory.
So you never know what any moment in life might bring. Be ready. The next encounter might be yours.
" But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." I Peter 3: 15